From the Latin adventus, meaning arrival, advent is a season of heart-stirring anticipation of the greatest Love we will ever know—that of God sending His Son Jesus to dwell among us, of Jesus taking away the penalty of our sin through His perfect sacrifice on the Cross, of the total defeat of death through His resurrection, of His ascension to the right hand of God, and of the promise of His return to establish His Kingdom and reign forever. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will! Let’s take a look at this gift of Love.
To Save Us All from Satan’s Power When We Were Gone Astray
The promise of this marvelous gift is first given to us in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Life, their eyes were opened, they were full of shame, and they hid from the presence of the Lord. Don’t miss what happened next. God came and called to them. When they were most vulnerable, God drew near to them seeking confession, offering a soft covering of grace and mercy, and promising hope.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? . . . So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” . . . Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. Genesis 3:9–21 (excerpted)
Sin had entered the world, but before any time had passed, God announced His plan of redemption. So great is His love!
A Thrill of Hope, the Weary World Rejoices
If you are weary this advent season, let these words of Isaiah wash over you and cause you to hope and rejoice:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. . . For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:2, 6–7
Whatever burdens you are carrying right now, lay them at the feet of the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29–30).
O Come, O Come, Immanuel
Beloved, an important part of preparing our hearts during advent is to reflect on the depth of our need for a Savior and the magnitude of His sacrifice for us. We can’t appreciate the immensity of God’s love for us if we don’t first understand the unimaginably high cost of our sin. Isaiah offers a piercing picture:
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. Isaiah 53:4–10
Great is our sin, but so much greater is His everlasting love.
God and Sinners Reconciled
Jesus left the magnificence of Heaven to dwell among us and to reconcile us to God. Because God came down at Christmas, we get to live forever with Him.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
This inexpressibly beautiful gift of Love is available to everyone. If you have not accepted it, don’t wait. Don’t live another moment without Jesus. Repent and turn away from your sin, believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and accept God’s gift of forgiveness, and confess your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. He is waiting to receive you with open arms.
Joy to the World, the Lord Is Come
Make no mistake—just as Jesus came to us on that first Christmas, He is coming again, to establish His Kingdom and reign forever.
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Revelation 22:12–13
What good news! Join Sarah and me as we pray, prepare our hearts, and celebrate our Lord’s birth and the promise of His return. This Christmas, hold fast to truth that you are loved beyond measure by the God of the universe, and rejoice in His magnificent gift of Jesus Christ.